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Consume above our needs

Consume above our needs

By José María Gómez Vallejo

Industrialized countries are the ones that waste the most food. Surpluses that are not marketed almost always end up in landfills, few go to those who need it most and only a small percentage is used as compost to compost.

In recent years, civil society has played an important role in raising awareness. Thanks to the activism of many organizations and environmental groups, the debate has reached the European Parliament, so that legislation is drawn up to reduce food loss. France is the first country that has prohibited by law supermarkets from throwing food away, forced to donate the surplus to NGOs and food banks; if they don't, they face financial fines and even jail time.

France's willingness contrasts with a lack of political will on the part of the European Union. And it is that, thanks to the liberal, popular and social democratic groups, the legislative initiatives remain in mere recommendations, without the capacity to demand that the member countries adopt concrete measures. Left-wing groups and consumer organizations reproach the EU for disinterest and abandonment of its functions, when 20% of production is lost and 10% of the European population has difficulties accessing food.

FAO itself points out that the maximum responsible is the current model of mass production that exceeds demand. Supermarkets throw away food that does not have a perfect appearance, and even expose products that are not going to be consumed, due to the fact that a full shelf sells more. It is true that we can all do our part to prevent “each European household from throwing away between 300 and 400 euros of food a year”, as Manuel Bruscas, activist and promoter of the campaign 'Stop food waste in Europe' denounces '; but the responsibility of the public cannot be equated with that of the distribution chains. “We must look for fairer and healthier consumption alternatives for the planet. But be careful, the system plays to place the responsibilities on the backs of the individuals, when we speak of a political and social problem of global dimensions ”, affirms the journalist and writer, Nazaret Castro.

What is hidden behind the waste is the exaggerated consumerism imposed by the capitalist model, where it is not produced based on needs, but by the search for maximum benefit, without worrying about the environment or people. Forcing companies in the sector to allocate the surplus to those who do not have it is a first step, but it is by no means the solution. Hunger is not fought with charity, but with policies that reduce poverty and give everyone the right to access food.

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